ple_trans.gif (1181 bytes)








Philosophy 203:  Scientific Reasoning
Test: Fallacies and Definition
Notes for Fallacy, Definition, and Science

Common Informal Fallacies
Begging the Question
Complex Question
False Dichotomy
Appeal to the People
Appeal to Authority
Appeal to Ignorance
Appeal to Emotion
Attack on the Person
The Genetic Fallacy
Hasty Generalization
False Cause
Slippery Slope
Weak Analogy

Kinds of Definitions

Rules for Definition
A definition should state the essential attributes of the species.
A definition must not be circular.
A definition must be neither too broad nor too narrow.
A definition must not be expressed in obscure, or figurative language.
A definition should not be negative where it can be affirmative.

I. Fallacies: write in the blank space provided, the fallacies committed in the following examples. You may take two guesses per question.

1. The great Eli Wallback, an international chess expert has pointed out that zinc tablets help him concentrate better. There can be no doubt that zinc is essential for increased mental function because Eli Wallback is so brilliant.


2. I know of several people who had colds, and they took large doses of vitamin C. Their colds went away within ten days. Therefore, vitamin C is effective in curing the common cold.


3. The report of the Mayo study has shown that vitamin C plays no significant role in certain types of cancer because the study shows that vitamin C is not effective.


4. I know of many people who take vitamin C and swear by it. Therefore, vitamin C must be good for you.


5. I had a friend who started taking vitamin C, and he caught a cold. Therefore, it must have been the vitamin C which produced the cold.


6. In spite of all of the talk, not a single flying saucer report has been totally authenticated. We may conclude, therefore, there are not such things as flying saucers.


7. Either we pass a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget, or we let deficits ruin us. Given this state of affairs, the choice is clear.


8. I think I am qualified for the job, although I have had little experience in the field. But I’ve been out of work for two months, and I really need the money.


9. How can we save our country from the bureaucratic dictatorship, the corruption, and the lack of regard for the common citizen? Only one way—vote Independent..


10. Wow! Did you see that teenager run that stop sign? Teenage drivers are really pathetic.


11. If Lander makes us buy a parking sticker, soon there will be separate parking facilities for faculty and students. And the next thing you know, we won’t be able to find a parking space.


12. The idea that cold fusion is possible is interesting, but it can’t be right because it was proposed by a college professor from a small college in West Texas.


13. Senator Cummins says that we’ve been too hasty in shutting down military nuclear facilities. But, I must point out,  he has a large nuclear facility in his home state that he is trying to save.


14. You really ought to study more for your math course. Studying more could save you from the professor having to write a most unfortunate letter to your parents.


15. Since all micro-organisms are mortal, the diseases will someday come to an end.


16. I really wasn’t speeding, Officer. When are you guys going to stop trapping honest motorists and go after the real criminals?


17. Since substances made of chromium tend to be orange in color, we may confidently expect chromium itself to be orange in color.


18. Everyone knows that low self-esteem leads to aggression at one time or another. Hence, we can conclude that this psychological insight is true.


19. The main reason that women's intuition is more accurate than men’s is that men’s intuition is not as nearly as well developed and so is less reliable.


20. Stress in the human body is often accompanied by low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Hence, hypoglycemia is caused by stress.



II. Matching: Match the purpose of the definition with the types of definitions. Put the appropriate letter or letters in the blank spaces provided.

1. ____ Stipulative

A. to increase vocabulary
2. ____ Lexical

B. to eliminate ambiguity
3. ____ Precising

C. to reduce vagueness
4. ____ Theoretical

D. to explain with respect to a hypothesis
5. ____ Persuasive

E. to influence attitudes


III. Kinds of Definitions: Identify the kind of definitions presented in the following passages.

1. ____________________ Pantothenic acid is a white insoluble solid, a member of the vitamin B complex, important to many organisms, and of the formula C9H17COOH.

2. ____________________ A living room is a room for general use and for the reception and entertainment of guests in a household.

3. ____________________ Driving means operating a motor vehicle on a public thoroughfare.

4. ____________________ True freedom is the exercise of reason and conscience in the determination of alternatives. In this, was the glory of God’s gift to mankind realized.

5. ____________________ Articles in groups of three arranged in such a way that they are equal distant from each other may be conveniently termed a trada.


IV. Criticism of Definitions: Criticize the following definitions by stating the one best rule of genus and difference which is violated.

1. A clear idea is a thought which is so precise and so different from any other idea that it contains nothing within itself but what is clear.


2. Science is a process of inquiry which is not relative, subjective, or fictional.


3. Evolution is the progressive aggregation of concrete processes in a developmental series giving fruition to the structure of a higher level.


4. Logic is the study of the laws of human thought patterns.


5. Mathematics means the writing of numbers, formulas, and graphs.


V. Diagramming: Setup a typology (tree diagram) for the following universe of objects. On the vertical lines state the sorting factor (the intension) and on horizontal lines state the name of the objet itself (the extension).

u n




previous.gif (1225 bytes) next.gif (1159 bytes)

Please send corrections or suggestions to
Please see the disclaimer concerning this page.